Art Quilts Around The World Challenge: Film Noir

Today is reveal day for my Facebook art quilt group Art Quilts Around The World. The challenge was titled Film Noir and I did not know this subject until I Googled it. It represents the Black and White movies of the 20s-30s when the movie industry was in its infancy. Plenty of dark smoky rooms, everyone was smoking cigarettes, shadows, interestingly textured backgrounds, dark street scenes and, my personal favorite, femme fatales!! They were the actresses who became famous from the movies they were in-Bette Davis, Carole Lombard and Myrna Loy to name a few. Sorry but no cigarettes in my quilts!  I saw this challenge as a study of value and chose to work in black and white with the exception of using a light icy blue for the irises in my portrait quilt. I found a photo where the bleach blonde finger waves caught my attention. This was my challenge to create a 3D image on a flat surface and capture the way the light or lack of light hit the waves in the hair.   I was not sure if I wanted to create a value scale from white to gray to black OR use prints and go from white to a white print with black to a black print with white to solid black. I chose both-grays for the skin tones and the prints for the hair. I collect white batiks and they are difficult to come by. I had a pile or "warm" whites for the skin tones and "cool" whites for the hair. I used as many small scale prints as I could so it "read" as a solid from a distance. 

Today is reveal day for my Facebook art quilt group Art Quilts Around The World. The challenge was titled Film Noir and I did not know this subject until I Googled it. It represents the Black and White movies of the 20s-30s when the movie industry was in its infancy. Plenty of dark smoky rooms, everyone was smoking cigarettes, shadows, interestingly textured backgrounds, dark street scenes and, my personal favorite, femme fatales!! They were the actresses who became famous from the movies they were in-Bette Davis, Carole Lombard and Myrna Loy to name a few. Sorry but no cigarettes in my quilts!

I saw this challenge as a study of value and chose to work in black and white with the exception of using a light icy blue for the irises in my portrait quilt. I found a photo where the bleach blonde finger waves caught my attention. This was my challenge to create a 3D image on a flat surface and capture the way the light or lack of light hit the waves in the hair. 

I was not sure if I wanted to create a value scale from white to gray to black OR use prints and go from white to a white print with black to a black print with white to solid black. I chose both-grays for the skin tones and the prints for the hair. I collect white batiks and they are difficult to come by. I had a pile or "warm" whites for the skin tones and "cool" whites for the hair. I used as many small scale prints as I could so it "read" as a solid from a distance. 

This is a close up of the hair and face. I embellished very little on this project because it stood by itself. I thought the hair needed more light reflection and used a white metallic paint in those areas as well as a bit of the same paint in the center eye area. The lower lip got a touch of silver glitter nail polish. The eyes received the customary white matte painted dot for the eye reflection. I think she looks like a young blonde Bette Davis.  I intend to use this quilt in my future workshops/lectures regarding color, value and realism in portrait quilts. Fun times!!

This is a close up of the hair and face. I embellished very little on this project because it stood by itself. I thought the hair needed more light reflection and used a white metallic paint in those areas as well as a bit of the same paint in the center eye area. The lower lip got a touch of silver glitter nail polish. The eyes received the customary white matte painted dot for the eye reflection. I think she looks like a young blonde Bette Davis.

I intend to use this quilt in my future workshops/lectures regarding color, value and realism in portrait quilts. Fun times!!

Bella Valora: Exploring the Color Wheel and Value


While teaching my Bella pattern class in October I had a student who did a different color scheme than I had explored. I have made 6-7 Bella quilts either using a one color (monochromatic) or a multicolor color scheme. I have another pattern and class I teach called "Fifteen Shades of Gray" which is the third photo in this blog. It has 15 very light to medium values of gray with three bright coordinating batiks as the applique colors for a different portrait quilt project. The student selected 24-25 gray squares and one color (blue) for the applique. This gave me the idea to combine the gray values from the Fifteen Shades of Gray pattern with the Bella pattern but instead of only one color applique I did a multicolor/color wheel color scheme. I chose warm colors (reds, oranges and yellows) for the hair and cool colors (blues, greens, turquoise and purples) for the facial features. I chose one white tone-on-tone fabric and 24 values of gray in this project. I placed the lightest values near the face and faded to darker values away from the face. I did separate the chin/neck/lower hair pattern into two sections because I wanted both blue violet and purple. My favorite color is pink so I put both magenta and pink in the hair applique. I added a gold for a small hair strand and would not do that again but use yellow orange instead like I used in the small curls in the lower part of the hair. I thought the YO was prettier than the gold.
The construction of the quilt is the same as the other Bella quilts. I changed the thread color for each coordinating piece of applique and used the same thread color to add quilting to the areas near the applique piece. I quilted the gray background/face/neck with a light gray thread.
I embellished with a blue nail polish on the open area of the mouth-turquoise glitter was added to the eyelid area. I glued a few rhinestones in the left sided background area. I auditioned hair flowers and beads for a necklace as I did in some of the other Bella quilts but it looked tacky and busy. I repeated the multicolor in the cute striped binding fabric.
Valora is the feminine version of the Italian word for value.
My Bella pattern is available from my website at www.laurieceesay.com.
This is Bella Chroma which explores the colors of the color wheel. Still one of my favorite color schemes!

This is the sample for my Fifteen Shades of Gray Class which is smaller at 12' square. Bella is 22.5" square.
I learned my students inspire me and see colors in a different way and it's all good to feed creativity off of each other!

I VALUE This Quilt!!

I love the "Swoon" block done scrappy style. The three quilts below are the wall hangings I made last summer as teaching tools for my lectures on the elements/principles of design for quilters. I am teaching a 6 part series of classes called "Design Confidence for Quilters" at Pine Street Quilts in Marinette, WI where I work part-time. The second class is this Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2013 and it is about asymmetrical balance and value. I decided to make a scrappy Swoon in 13 values from solid white to dark black prints with a solid black Kona Cotton background. (I love Kona Cottons-the feel of the fabric is wonderful and they press nicely!) I usually choose quilts with lots of color and by the time I was ready to add the binding I "had" to add a bit of color and I was working with reds at the quilt retreat last weekend so red was my binding choice. When the quilt was finished I decided to add an accent of red in the center by adding a large red button to the quilt. I quilted this piece with a variegated black and white thread.  The Swoon block is 24" x 24." When I first looked at the quilt from a distance for the first time there was a secondardy image of whitish tulips in the four corners which wasn't planned but when you consider that whites are prominant it is a great teaching tool for studying value. I learned I had very little gray fabrics in my stash and now I do!!
This was my first Swoon block using the 12 + 1 colors of the color wheel.
This is my example of the same color placement but all the colors have been "tinted" with white or pastels. I would not usually do an all pastel quilt unless a baby quilt or possibly a spring theme quilt.

This example is the same color placement but all the colors have been "shaded" with black. I did brighten the golds a bit to make the quilt prettier. Some people use all darks in their quilts such as Thimbleberies and Kansas City Troubles fabrics. I am a brighter style fabric person and I like the original color wheel quilt the best.
 
At some point I should make a "tone" style quilt but they are my least favorite fabrics. But for educational purposes I NEED to make one!!